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On the hunt for a great pair of neoprene liners for your wellies? Then you’ve come to the right place.
For a soggy riverside stroll or a damp dog walk, wellies will always be my footwear of choice. They’re fantastic at keeping out the puddles but, unfortunately, not so great for keeping out the chill. Neoprene – the fabric that they make wetsuits out of – is an excellent option for welly liners. Trouble is, pop “Neoprene welly liners” into your search engine of choice and you’ll get over 800,000 results to, ahem, wade through. That’s a lot and I’m guessing you’d rather get your wellies on and go for a walk instead?
So, I’ve done the hard slog for you. In a moment, I’ve got a list for you of my recommended neoprene liners for your wellington boots. We’ll then take a look at what neoprene is, why it makes a good welly boot liner, the different types of neoprene liners you can get for your boots and, finally, how to choose a great pair of neoprene welly liners.
Put your feet up and let’s take a look now.
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What is neoprene
We tend to think of neoprene as being a wetsuit material, and it is, but what exactly is it and why is it such a great fabric for welly liners as well as wetsuits?
Neoprene has a long heritage, having originally been invented in 1930 by a team at DuPont. It was originally branded as Duprene, before a name change in the late ‘30s to neoprene. Neoprene has a wide range of applications in many industries, with the one that’s important to us right now being aquatic activities. Because of its fantastic thermal insulation properties it makes an ideal fabric for making protective items of clothing for use in (or around) chilly water. Wetsuits, absolutely, but also fishing waders, wellies…and welly liners. For wetsuits neoprene has the additional benefit of being relatively buoyant and helps swimmers to float more easily due to the gas pockets in the fabric.
For clothing, neoprene is available in a range of different thicknesses. 7mm neoprene is often used for wetsuits to be worn in deep water – neoprene contains pockets of gas and these compress the deeper underwater you go. 5mm is the normal thickness for fishing waders and wellingtons, with 3mm for welly socks.
What are neoprene welly liners
Neoprene welly liners are worn with or without an additional pair of socks, inside wellies. Their job is to give an extra layer of warmth for your toes, feet, and lower legs as the standard rubber that most wellies are made of doesn’t keep out much of the chill.
Because they have excellent thermal efficiency, they can keep your feet and legs warm without adding the bulk and weight that multiple pairs of socks would.
Another benefit of neoprene welly liners is impact protection. Wear your welly boots on rough or rocky ground and you’re likely to bash your toes plenty. Rubber wellies will give a certain amount of padding (especially if they have toe protection built in) but the 3 or 4mm of neoprene in a welly liner will really help to keep your tootsies from getting bruised and battered.
Different types of neoprene socks used as welly liners
Neoprene socks come in a number of different forms, many of which make great welly liners. Most socks are in the form of socks/boots for use with a wetsuit. These tend to be a shorter sock as they are designed to tuck up inside the leg openings on wetsuits. They are a great choice as welly liners if you get chilly feet and ankles, but don’t suffer from cold legs, as they can feel less restrictive than a full length sock. These ‘wetsuit booties’ tend to be a closefitting sock.
Neoprene socks that are designed to be used with fishing waders tend to be much longer – up to just below the knee. Standing in cold water all day when you’re fly fishing means that you need a warm layer as high up as possible on your legs and neoprene liners like these are ideal for that. That also makes them perfect as welly liners when you want a close-fit sock that covers from knee to toes.
Lastly, there are looser neoprene liner socks that are specifically designed for wellies. These come in different lengths – the two most popular being mid-calf and just below the knee. They are less close-fitting than either a wetsuit bootie or fly fishing wader liner and can be worn with an additional sock on the inside.
Neoprene socks have two different types of seams – taped and open. Open seams are a standard seam where you can see the stitches whereas taped seams have a layer of tape to close and seal up the seam. Taped seam socks will tend to have better waterproofing and may also be smoother on your skin. Not an issue when you’re teaming your neoprene socks up with a standard pair of socks, but a consideration if you’re not.
How to choose neoprene welly liners
When it comes to welly liners made from neoprene there are a few factors to consider when you’re making your choice. Let’s take a look.
As a rule of thumb, the thicker the neoprene the warmer you’ll be. The standard thickness to look out for when you’re choosing neoprene welly liners or socks is 3-4mm. Thicker than this and they become too inflexible to use inside your welly boots. Thinner than this and they’ll lose too much of their thermal insulating properties, leaving you with cold feet.
Neoprene welly liners and socks also come in a range of different leg lengths / heights from just above the calf to just below the knee. The longer the liner – and therefore the more neoprene you’ve got wrapped around your leg – the warmer you’ll be, however longer liners can also be more tricky to put on and take off. That said, my preference is still for a welly liner that goes all the way up to the rim of my boots to give me the most warmth. If you just get chilly feet and aren’t worried about your calves, then a shorter liner is worth considering.
Close-fitting or loose
Close-fitting neoprene socks, which are usually teamed with wetsuits, offer the best thermal insulation as they are kept directly against the skin. However there are also looser-fit liners that give good insulation whilst at the same time being easier than a close-fitting sock to take off and put on.
Open seams can sometimes cause rubbing on your skin, particularly if they are close-fitting socks. You can get around this issue by wearing a standard pair of welly socks inside the neoprene liners. However you can also get liners which have taped seams and, in this case, there’s no need for additional socks to protect your skin.